Vonda N. McIntyre


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Vonda N. McIntyre

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My Progress

Day 30

First sentence:

“And my lost son, raised by wolves, brought back to me in health and strength.”

Last sentence:

Did Fire from Cold Ashes ever sing? Paissu asked herself.

Day 27

First sentence:

“Mother of Rhenthizu,” she said, “will you help me choose a suitable gift for Comucomulu?”

Last sentence:

They licked my face and lay near me, warm as fire, and mother wolf, as red as sunset, gave me her name to use.

Day 24

First sentence:

“My son,” she replied.

Last sentence:

“But who was given child to the sea wolves?” Rhenthizu asked.

 

Day 21

First sentence:

“Come out of the rain,” Alukuwusu said.

Last sentence:

Iakinthu took her belowdecks, where it was warm and dry, and told her who she was.

Day 20

First sentence:

“Will I lose him, Iakinthu?” she asked.

Last sentence:

“Everyone is at peace, which is different from being friends.”

Day 19

First sentence:

“Ah. Is he wealthy?”

Last sentence:

She knew what Rhenthizu’s name would be.

Day 16, 17, 18

Ugh. Sick.

Day 15

First sentence:

“Speak in a civilized manner,” Aranthau said, “as your mother advises.

Last sentence:

“It sparkles upon my tongue.”

Day 14

(Speaking engagement; took day off)

Day 13

First sentence:

“Can I ever do what I like? I must help all these people.”

Last sentence:

“He was raised by men,” Iakinthu said apologetically to Kuwayupituchu.

Day 12

First sentence:

“I gave her Surefoot to ride,” Paissu said, “so she can keep up with Grandmother Celestial Wind and the other People.”

Last sentence:

“We’re at war. Always.”

Day 11

First sentence:

He extended his hand toward the Akokulu elder.

Last sentence:

Iakinthu was content to replace the slavers with wolves, an altogether more acceptable group of beings.

Day 10

First sentence:

The people in the camp approached

Last sentence:

If he is, the question of Rhenthizu’s mother becomes even more complex.

Day 09

First sentence:

“Beautiful, sky-colored.”

Last sentence:

The people wore cloaks of closely-woven bark, and conical hats of wonderful design.

 

Day 08

First sentence:

“She was afraid for you.”

Last sentence:

The blue silk flowed around him in the breeze.

Day 07

First sentence:

Rhenthizu stumbled along the river shore,

Last sentence:

“She was frightened,” he said. “So frightened. Was she afraid of me?”

Day 06:

First sentence:

When Rhenthizu returned to the campfire, Comucomulu had disappeared.

Last sentence:

Even her shadow had disappeared, vanished in the dark and the rain.

Day 05:

First sentence:

“Wukanushu,” Rhenthizu said.

Last sentence:

“I was accustomed to rain,” he said, “when I was a little boy, and it would be good to get used to it again.”

Day 04:

First sentence:

Maranti joined Rhenthizu in the bow and took his hand.

Last sentence:

The succulent smell enveloped Rhenthizu in powerful memories.

Day 03:

First sentence:

Comucomulu stood at the bow of Flying Fish, where the people on the riverbank could see him if the rain and the mist would only clear.

Last sentence

Rhenthizu shrugged, distressed.

Day 02:

First sentence:

He knew, all her companions knew, that she would choose an invitation, though it might lead to danger.

Last sentence

Would I recognize her, if I saw her? he wondered.

Day 01:

First sentence:

And then, gradually, like a spirit, a graceful canoe appeared through the mist.

Last sentence:

Rhenthizu gazed at him in wonder. “Yes,” he said. “I am.”

About Me

Writing Sample

The first thousand words or so of The Curve of the World, an alternate history novel about what might have happened if first contact between eastern and western hemispheres had been based on trade and diplomacy rather than conquest and conversion.
 
THE CURVE OF THE WORLD
 
Chapter 1

 
In the full of the Moon, a fire blazed between the horns of the mountain. The Moon rose in a night sky black and clear and deep, and paved in stars. The fire’s sparks reached to join the gleaming path.
   A branch exploded in the flames, spraying a shower of embers. The embers died, their sharp smoke drifting into the soft, warm air. The adults gathered, circling the fire, carrying armsful of golden lilies or sprays of lavender. Their long tiered skirts and bare feet brushed the ground. Seal-stone bracelets and gold earrings caught the starlight, the firelight, the light of the Moon.
   The moonlight wove silk around the deep cleft in the mountainside and clothed Rhenthizu in silver as he stepped from the cave.
   Iakinthu took Rhenthizu’s hand and drew him into the circle, into the center, into the light. The boy gripped her fingers but followed without hesitation, his natural dignity obscuring his apprehension. He held his head high. The silver of the Moon gave way to the gold of firelight against his skin. His scalp was shaven, except for his long straight child-locks; his hair never would form proper curls. Spots of scab covered his knee, like any boy’s; a scraped knee hardly counted as a blemish, compared to the scars on his back from the bad times before he became Iakinthu’s given child.
   Iakinthu brought Rhenthizu to the Eldest Daughter. The daughter’s companion snake coiled around her arm, curved toward the tempting heat of the fire, returned to the secure warmth of her body. Its tongue flicked; its scales glimmered in starlight.
   Iakinthu and the Eldest Daughter smiled at each other, sharing their joy. The Eldest Daughter kissed Rhenthizu’s forehead. One of her sisters brought an ancient nippled ewer with a bird-woman’s head, painted with flowers. The Eldest Daughter accepted it reverently and raised it above the boy. Iakinthu helped her tilt it. Oil infused with lavender and gold dust gushed from its mouth, releasing a sharp resinous scent. The oil ran through Rhenthizu’s child-locks, down his cheeks, onto his shoulders, down his chest and his back, over his sex. Firelight gleamed on his skin, reflecting from the flecks of gold, anointing him.
   Iakinthu guided him to face the fire. He gazed into it, hypnotized by the ceremony, the blaze, the night’s breeze. Breaking his stillness, he leaned toward the fire and flung an offering into it; the tiny clay sculpture vanished into flames and ashes before Iakinthu could make out its shape. She should leave him the secrets of his deepest wish, but Rhenthizu was her given child, and she wondered what he most desired.
   He straightened, squared his shoulders, and drew his hand from hers. He was ready.
   Standing behind him, Iakinthu drew a new obsidian knife from the sheath tucked into the cincture of her skirt. The black blade held an edge so sharp it gleamed transparent grey.
Carefully, delicately, Iakinthu grasped the end of Rhenthizu’s forelock and drew it taut. He arched his neck, tilting his head back so she could reach him. She shaved the forelock close, careful of his skin. The knife parted each strand of hair with barely a touch. His forelock came free. She flung it into the fire. It sizzled and disappeared, leaving only its sharp scent.
   She shaved his child-locks. When she finished, the Eldest Daughter smiled again. All the adults together gave a single, quiet sigh. Iakinthu threw the knife into the fire; it stuck upright, reflecting the flames, unchanged.
   Rhenthizu faced Iakinthu. Sleeping in the mountain, joining the adults, surrendering his child-locks, he had taken up the rights of a young man.
   Each of the adults crossed into the circle to kiss Rhenthizu on his forehead and fill his arms with lilies. He accepted their blessings, his eyes shining.
   Approaching him last, Iakinthu drew him down and kissed his forehead. The perfumed oil, warmed by his skin, touched her lips with the essence of lavender.
   When did he grow taller than I? she wondered. I knew he was taller than I — did I think of it before this moment?
   “You’re my family’s given child,” she said. “Before I give you back to your mother, I give you back to yourself.”
   She kissed him again.
   The ground trembled. The hollow of the mountain held the rumbling of the earth, concentrated it, extended it with echoes. Iakinthu imagined her feet sinking into the ground, steadying her. She dreaded another strong earthquake, the cruel disruption of the land, thunder and lightning out of nowhere, out of the ground where it never belonged. Sometimes, to this day, she lay waking in the dawn light and thought she felt the quivering of the world.
   The trembling subsided with a final sharp shake. Iakinthu rubbed her arms, chilled despite the warmth of the night.
Rhenthizu stared at the cave, his eyes wide and horrified. Lilies spilled from his hands. Iakinthu touched his cheek and turned him to face the fire again.
   “Our mother’s companion is angry,” whispered the Eldest Daughter, gazing toward the cleft in the mountainside. “Angry that you’ve joined us instead of him.”
   The shock left Rhenthizu’s face, and he smiled.
   “Go ahead,” Iakinthu said. “Go down the path, and we’ll follow. Your friends are waiting.”
   He gathered the lilies in one arm, touched his fist to his forehead to salute her, then wiped the oil from his brow. She stepped aside, opening the circle for him. He stepped over it and strode away, all apprehension and anticipation. Streaks of golden oil gleamed along his back, obscuring the scars. He vanished into the darkness. Lilies scattered after him, bright against the ground.
   The companions danced around the fire, faces raised to the glow of the night sky.
   Iakinthu and the Eldest Daughter shook the ancient ewer over the fire. The last drops of oil popped and smoked; Iakinthu wafted the scented smoke around the Eldest Daughter, around her own face, toward their dancing companions. When the scent faded, the Daughter lit new torches.
   The dance ended.

What I Write

Vonda N. McIntyre writes science fiction.

Website

http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/bvc-author/vonda-n-mcintyre/

Twitter Handle

@vondanmcintyre

Publications

Dreamsnake (Nebula, Hugo, Locus, PNBS)
 
The Moon and the Sun (Nebula) With any luck, the movie (now titled The King’s Daughter), starring Kaya Scodelario, Fan BingBing, Pierce Brosnan, William Hurt, directed by Sean McNamara, will debut in summer 2017. I blogged about visiting the filming at Versailles, at the Book View Café blog.

 
The Starfarers Quartet: The best SF miniseries never made. To celebrate Write-a-thon, the first volume is free in July at Book View Café.

 

Write-a-thon Goals

Writing Goals

I am going to do my best to finish this book, which was thrown off-course a long time ago because life is complex.

I hope to update with the first and last lines of what I write each day. If I skip a day because of being in the Land of Little Internet, which happens occasionally, I’ll try to catch up with extra entries.

Vonda

 

Fundraising Goals

I counted the number of spare beaded sea creatures I have and decided to send one to anybody who contributes $50 or more to Clarion West, up to 20 or so additional donors. (All donations go to the workshop.) If you already contributed $100, I’ll send you two, or a Featherless Boa (much more labor-intensive).

If you are among the first 20 of my sponsors  at the $100 level, I will send you a beaded sea creature. (Update: I will send you two!) (Or a featherless boa.)

I hope to raise some money for Clarion West!